Windsor might be better known for sugar beets than ski runs. But Colorado’s latest addition to the ski and snow scene—which, yes, is in Windsor—gives locals a place to find adventure close to home. With a three-inch snowpack, two terrain parks, two tubing hills, and several ski runs, Hoedown Hill aims to give snow enthusiasts a playground of their preference at a fraction of the price you’ll find at more traditional resorts. And far, far away from the I-70 corridor.

The inspiration for Hoedown Hill stretches all the way back to the 1970s when Sharktooth Ski Area beckoned beginner skiers for a mild, er, wild ride outside of Greeley.

“It was about a dollar a day and you brought your own tube or your own skis,” says Tyler Lind, chief operations officer of Hoedown Hill. His dad, Martin Lind, didn’t grow up with the kind of money to fund fancy mountain resort trips, so he spent his weekends skiing down Sharktooth. “As a child he didn’t get to do a lot of fun things,” Tyler says. “He grew up very poor, so he always cherished those memories and wanted to bring something like that to Northern Colorado.”

It took several decades, but Martin Lind’s aspirations became reality at the end of January when the Lind family threw open the barn doors of Hoedown Hill. The recreation area sits on the same property as RainDance National Resort & Golf, which actually supplied all the dirt developers used to build the hill. The recreation area also includes a ski school and restaurant affectionately deemed the Grainhouse, which serves reasonably priced bar fare and a robust selection of local beers.

Snow activities wrap on March 17, but Hoedown Hill plans to reopen after the snow has melted with warm-weather activities, including summer tubing, mountain biking, and a concert in September.

But before spring sweeps in, we wanted to find out whether Hoedown Hill was worth the trip. Here, we call out the types of thrill seekers who we think will have a helluva time at Hoedown Hill.

The 6 Best Reasons to Visit Hoedown Hill

1. You’re a Beginner Skier or Snowboarder

Shredding at Hoedown Hill in Colorado
Photo courtesy of Hoedown Hill

If crowded bunny hills and advanced skiers blowing by you on green runs aren’t your jam, you’ll likely enjoy the relaxed pace at Hoedown Hill. Most of the runs on-site are greens, making this an ideal environment for rookie boarders practicing their floating leaf and kids on skis mastering the art of the pizza.

If it’s your first or second time on the slopes, head up the hill past the ski school and make a hard left as soon as the blue fence ends. This area is dedicated to Terrain Based Learning, an instruction method that uses certain specific terrain features to teach beginners essential movements. Get your bearings on the flats, practice gaining speed on the rollers, and learn the art of carving on the banked turn. Given the mild terrain, you don’t have to worry about irritated stares from skiers or boarders when you cross the entire slope—or their jeers if you catch an edge and yard sale in the middle of the hill.

2. You Want to Fly Down the Longest Tubing Hill in North America

The crown jewel of Hoedown Hill is undeniably the Bushwhacker, an exhilarating 10-lane tubing hill that stretches 1,200 feet. Riders must be at least 42 inches tall (and wear a helmet if they’re under 18) to tackle this beast, but don’t fret if your tykes are too short. The Greenhorn, a more modest undertaking, doesn’t have a height requirement and gives Bushwhacker wannabes the chance to prep for the big leagues.

3. You’re Boarding on a Budget

One of the most alluring aspects of this new ski area is that you’ll spend less on a day pass here than you will on a burger and beer at one of the resorts along I-70. Skiers and snowboarders can buy sun-up (9 a.m.–3 p.m.) or sun-down (3 p.m.– 9 p.m.) passes for just $35. Although there aren’t any rentals on-site, Hoedown Hill has partnered with Mountain Rentals in Loveland for the season to provide ski and snowboard rentals at a discounted rate ($25.60 per day). Visitors can expect on-site daily rentals for the next winter season.

The bar at Hoedown Hill in Colorado.
Photo courtesy of Hoedown Hill

4. You Want to Drink Beer While Your Kids Play Outside

If your kids are old enough to explore on their own, Hoedown Hill might become your family’s new favorite hangout spot. Settle onto a barstool at the Grainhouse, order the Out of Office cocktail (vodka, Irish cream, chai, cardamom syrup, and orange bitters), and watch your kiddos fly down the tubing hill on the TV perched above the water station, which livestreams the action on Bushwhacker. So when your son comes bursting through the doors to ask if you saw his sick run, you can say, “I sure did!”—even if you were really watching the Avs game on the massive screen above the bar. Your secret is safe with us.

5. You Like to Push the Limits in Terrain Parks

More advanced shredders can enjoy time in the two terrain parks on-site: the Clunk Yard and the Junk Yard. The features change regularly but you can expect jumps, rainbow rails, quarter pipes, flat boxes, and more. Since most beginner skiers and boarders aren’t ready to attempt any tricks, the terrain parks at Hoedown Hill are often fairly empty, giving you plenty of room to practice your most impressive jibs. Freestyle skiers will want to visit next ski season because the hill has big expansion plans: The entire west side will become a massive terrain park, and the owners plan to add moguls, a steep black run, and a rope tow.

6. You Hate Lines

If you prefer schussing to standing, you’ll appreciate the efficiency of Hoedown Hill. Even on Presidents Day weekend—one of the busiest times of ski season—the two magic carpet lifts that service the slopes never had long lines. “We have people that are Olympic skiers or professional snowboarders that are coming, and they’re just appreciating the amount of time on the hill,” Tyler says. If lots of practice is your priority, take advantage of the short runs and nonexistent lines here. You just might leave looking like Mikaela Shiffrin.

Jessica Giles
Jessica Giles
Jessica is a senior associate editor on 5280's digital team.